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Who’s at Fault and What Are Your Options After a Pile-Up Accident?

By David Boehrer | Posted on June 12, 2020

Pile-up car accidents raise questions about liability, since drivers often have different versions of accident details. Fault for the accident will be based on the police report and insurance investigations.

Untangling Liability in Pile-Up Accidents

When a car hits another car from behind, the car in the rear is generally held liable for the accident. The law assumes that the car traveling behind must maintain a safe braking distance from the car in front. In a pile-up accident,  determining fault becomes more complicated, because there are multiple drivers, multiple insurers, and conflicting accident details in police reports.

Typically, the police report from the accident scene notes which car is at fault based on details collected at the scene. In pile-up accidents, one vehicle often causes the crash and sets off a chain reaction collision, However, it is possible for multiple cars to be at fault. The amount of fault is usually determined by details in the police report and/or by insurance adjusters who investigate accident claims. In most states, insurance companies decide driver liability. They often seek damages from other insurers to cover their claims. Insurance companies have the final say in determining who they believe is at fault for an accident, and they don’t always agree with conclusions found in police reports.

When multiple cars collide in a pile-up accident, determining fault and liability for the accident gets complicated. While one driver may be found 70 percent at fault, other drivers may share fault at 30 percent. Investigating pile-up accident claims is a lengthy process that involves many different drivers and many different insurance companies, often fighting to protect their assets by avoiding payouts on claims. Due to increased liability and legal issues, car accident lawyers are important for drivers involved in pile-up accidents. Drivers involved in a pile-up accident should follow certain steps:

  • Call the police to the scene of the accident
  • Gather evidence to support a claim (photos, videos)
  • Get witness statements from people who witnessed the accident
  • Seek medical attention for injuries as soon as possible
  • Report the accident to the insurance company
  • Review insurance policy provisions

Nevada is a fault state, also known as a tort state, which means the person found at fault for a car accident is responsible for all damages related to property and injuries. If lawsuits are filed against a driver, a Henderson car accident lawyer can provide legal help to minimize liability.

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